Re-entering the Medical field after time away from work for any reason is always a challenge. Hospitals and clinics, like other employers, prefer people with recent experience. However, many of us leave our careers for some period of time.
Previously we have written on steps you can take to improve your odds of getting a job offer after an absence from the clinical workforce. They include:
- Updating all licenses and certifications
- Reaching out to former colleagues
- Starting your résumé with a keyword-rich summary
Those measures position you for new employment. However, there are additional steps you can take to make your re-entry to the work world as smooth as possible.
How to Explain Your Absence
HR representatives and hiring managers are bound to wonder about any gap on your résumé. In the past, people advised job seekers to avoid saying anything that hinted at marital status or number of children. If you left the workforce because of family considerations, recent research from Vanderbilt University suggests that the best strategy is to directly state that information in an interview.
Due to fears of lawsuits, employers fear asking any question that can be interpreted as wanting to know about your marital status and number of children. However, there is nothing that prevents you from addressing any gaps in your employment history. If you bring up family, I recommend you note that you are able to fully devote yourself to your career at this time.
I know the aforementioned advice sounds contrarian; however, try to view things from the hiring manager’s perspective. The Vanderbilt study found that employers hate not knowing about a person’s background, and anything that reduced that risk was better. If you mention that you “do not have to take time off to care for sick children,” that eliminates an employer’s concern.
Regulatory and technological changes mean that you must also update your skills before returning to the field. In addition to renewing your license, re-entry programs are now available to update returning physicians on clinical work. For instance, Drexel University offers a structured preceptorship so that physicians observe practicing physicians and learn the latest medical information. Other medical schools such as Einstein offer observerships of 1 – 4 weeks in a wide variety of specialties.
There are re-entry programs for nurses, too. These programs offer courses (often via distance learning) and require supervised clinical work. Go to your state’s board of nursing website to find a list of approved programs. In addition to renewing your medical skills, you will likely gain new recommendations and make new professional contacts.
Returning to Clinical Work
Now is a great time to re-enter the Medical Field. Job growth (from 2014-2024) is expected to be:
- 14% for physicians and surgeons
- 16% for registered nurses
- 16% for medical technologists and technicians
Improving communication during an interview and updating your knowledge are keys to re-entering a clinical field. Research re-entry programs to find one that enables you to update your skills and build up your résumé. Consider using the unconventional interviewing advice to clear the air about why you left the medical field.
From the employer’s perspective, a new hire is always a risk. Taking this advice makes you less of a risk in a hiring manager’s eyes.